Council cuts cleaners pay – due to Living Wage increase!


Cleaning staff employed by Nviro at Council Offices have had a unilateral pay cut - they have been
forced to reduce their hours by half an hour per week, to pay for a Living Wage increase. The council
and Nviro expect them to do the same amount of work, but take home less pay!
Council Officers were instructed to refuse Nviro's request to increase the contract price to take
account of this paltry pay rise, so they told their staff their hours would be cut. This, from a
firm whose own website states they are a "Company with a conscience", and whose turnover
in 2014 was a mere £70 million.

And the Council?
At Policy and Resources, on 29/11/2012, with cross party support, it was agreed to pay the
National Living Wage (currently £8.25) to Council staff and to give a "commitment to meet
any annual increase in the Living Wage rate (for Council or relevant
contracted staff)".
When other companies took similar action to avoid forking out for the new legal “Living
Wage”, even George Osborne said it made him “angry” as they weren't acting “in the spirit
of the law”. He said “"I think that companies these days should be much more careful about their
reputation and much more aware of their social responsibility to their workforce as well as
to their community." 

Meanwhile, the GMB have forced Carillion, cleaners contractors for Nationwide (a principle partner
for the Living Wage Foundation!), to reverse their cut-pay-by-cutting-hours by
preparing to ballot for strike action.

UNISON is now seeking urgent clarification from the Labour administration as to whether it will
force officers to comply with a Council Policy. Similarly, that the Council ensures that Nviro will both
pay the Living Wage (at £8.25 per hour), this is backdated to 1st April, and cleaners hours are
restored to 31st March onwards.  
Brighton & Hove City Council is in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce and UNISON, in the
local Living Wage Campaign (267 organizations are "signed up") - we ask, is this campaign just a
good PR opportunity for them, or will our politicians stand up for the lowest paid in the City?


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